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The Lives to Come: The Genetic Revolution and Human Possibilities 
by Philip Kitcher.
Allen Lane, 381 pp., £20, April 1996, 0 7139 9129 1
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... with presenting an external, perhaps critical, perspective. Nevertheless, in The Lives to Come, Philip Kitcher provides an outstanding illustration of what the philosophy of science can contribute to public understanding. Molecular genetics, the topic of Kitcher’s book, is surely the area of contemporary research with the greatest potential relevance to ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... a blue rinse. As we were standing together on a corner in Notting Hill Gate by a red postbox, Philip Roth and I were talking when an Englishman I knew came towards us in the crowd, and I wanted him to see me talking with Philip Roth, but he didn’t see us, and walked past. In one scene – they are all scenes ...

How to Be Good

Elaine Showalter: Carol Shields, 11 July 2002

Unless 
by Carol Shields.
Fourth Estate, 213 pp., £16.99, May 2002, 0 00 713770 2
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... to create perfect miniatures, to take no major risks.’ On the other hand, you could say, as John Gross has done, that the fault is in the eye of the beholder: ‘While Americans think we’re miniaturists, English people tend to think Americans suffer from gigantism.’ Shields responds to such charges more indignantly in her latest novel, Unless, set a few ...

Trust the Coroner

John Bossy: Why Christopher Marlowe was probably not a spy, 14 December 2006

Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 421 pp., £25, October 2005, 0 19 818695 9
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... with a capital ‘R’, means Calvinist. The historian of the Jews in England was Cecil Roth, not Philip. Stephen Gosson never became a Catholic monk. Michel de Castelnau, the French ambassador, did not ‘trust’ that Elizabeth could be assassinated, and his secretary, Courcelles, did not become an English mole. (I confess that I said he did, but withdrew ...

Taking it up again

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 March 1991

Henry James and Revision 
by Philip Horne.
Oxford, 373 pp., £40, December 1990, 0 19 812871 1
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... and by the autumn of 1908 he had to realise that his task was thankless, his art unappreciated. As Philip Horne convincingly shows us, however, James’s most powerful motives were far from mercenary. He was driven by the desire to perfect his work. The idea of the complete edition, the final perfected statement, was really his own, not his publisher’s. When ...

Profits Now, Costs Later

David Woodruff: Mariana Mazzucato, 22 November 2018

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy 
by Mariana Mazzucato.
Allen Lane, 384 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 241 18881 1
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... to conceal the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’, Philip Green gave a self-congratulatory interview to the Guardian. Swaggering through his high-street stores, journalist in tow, he showed off his knowledge of the stock, his attention to product display, his grace while accepting customers’ compliments, and ...

In the Egosphere

Adam Mars-Jones: The Plot against Roth, 23 January 2014

Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books 
by Claudia Roth Pierpont.
Cape, 353 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 0 224 09903 5
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... Claudia Roth Pierpont met Philip Roth at a birthday party in 2002. She was a fan, but managed not to alienate him with clumsy enthusiasm. A couple of years later he sent her a photocopy of a newspaper article he thought she might be interested in. They met for coffee and became more relaxed with each other. Later he recruited her as a member of the small rotating committee of friends, an editorial micro-minyan, to whom he sent drafts of his books ...

The Men from God Knows Where

Maurice Keen: The Hundred Years War, 27 April 2000

The Hundred Years War. Vol. II: Trial by Fire 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 680 pp., £30, August 1999, 0 571 13896 9
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... the way for Edward III, 12 years later, to claim the French throne as a better heir in blood than Philip VI, who succeeded; Philip’s confiscation of Edward’s French duchy of Aquitaine in 1337, which precipitated the war; Edward’s decision, at Ghent in 1340, to lay claim formally to ...

The Imagined Market

Donald MacKenzie: Money Games, 31 October 2002

Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science 
by Philip Mirowski.
Cambridge, 670 pp., £24.95, February 2002, 0 521 77526 4
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... discipline thus matters not just to economists but to the rest of us, whose world is being shaped. Philip Mirowski is the most stimulating, provocative present-day historian of economics. His book’s abrasive account of the processes forging economic orthodoxy over the past sixty years will annoy his orthodox colleagues, delight dissidents (except the ...

Trauma Style

Joanna Kavenna: Joyce Carol Oates, 19 February 2004

The Tattooed Girl 
by Joyce Carol Oates.
Fourth Estate, 307 pp., £16.99, January 2004, 0 00 717077 7
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... across her body. She is a seedier version of Oates’s Marilyn Monroe: she finds her breasts gross and over-heavy, she is disgusted by her menstrual blood, as so many of Oates’s female characters are, she searches desperately for love, she aspires to better things, she is alluring and mysterious to men, though not to her pimp boyfriend, Dmitri. There ...

Very Old Labour

Ross McKibbin, 3 April 1997

... Labour: the Labour Party under Mr Blair more closely resembles the party of Ramsay MacDonald and Philip Snowden than one kitted out for the Nineties. Inevitably, given its strategy, the most obvious characteristic it shares with Very Old Labour is timidity and a wish to be thought acceptable by the existing élites. One form of this is New Labour’s ready ...

Puffed up, Slapped down

Rosemary Hill: Charles and Camilla, 6 September 2017

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life 
by Sally Bedell Smith.
Michael Joseph, 624 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 7181 8780 4
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The Duchess: The Untold Story 
by Penny Junor.
William Collins, 320 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 0 00 821100 4
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... that seafaring was yet another area in which he and his father had nothing in common. Prince Philip had a distinguished naval career. His son struggled with navigation, which he found confusing, and he didn’t much like the rough and tumble of life onboard ship. One exercise involved performing an ‘underwater escape from a submarine’: a not inapt ...

In praise of manly piety

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 June 1994

The 18th-Century Hymn in England 
by Donald Davie.
Cambridge, 167 pp., £27.95, October 1993, 0 521 38168 1
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... my eyelids close.’ It is not ‘strong’. That is in Davie’s eyes a major defect in a hymn. Philip Doddridge is too thin and tender: ‘Only in the last two lines of “O god of Bethel” does Doddridge achieve Watts’s strength, in the sense that the 17th and 18th centuries gave to that term, meaning resonant conciseness.’ But is ‘resonant ...

Flinch Wince Jerk Shirk

Frank Kermode: Christine Brooke-Rose, 6 April 2006

Life, End of 
by Christine Brooke-Rose.
Carcanet, 119 pp., £12.95, February 2006, 1 85754 846 9
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... spot where to put the foot’. The description of the pain has already enacted in language the gross physical difficulty. This enactment of a state of affairs written about by means of the writing itself is a familiar device, related to the obsessive punning. Mention of the pineal gland brings to mind the fact that Descartes placed the soul in it, ‘thus ...

Outfoxing Hangman

Thomas Jones: David Mitchell, 11 May 2006

Black Swan Green 
by David Mitchell.
Sceptre, 371 pp., £16.99, May 2006, 0 340 82279 1
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... Floyd Chaceley, Neal Brose, Pete Redmarley, Ross Wilcox, Gary Drake, ‘Squelch’, Grant Burch, Philip Phelps, Lee Biggs, the Tookey brothers, Ant Little, Darren Croome. There are too many to take in, but almost all of them feature more or less prominently later in the novel, and one of the difficulties of being a teenager, too often oversimplified in ...

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